The New York Yankees have two priorities this off-season, acquiring a top shortstop and adding to their starting pitching rotation. General manager Brian Cashman made it apparent that a deal with a shortstop could happen any day, and they were recently in the hunt for Houston ace Justin Verlander.
Verlander hasnâ€™t pitched since 2019, coming off Tommy John surgery. During his most recent campaign, he logged a 2.58 ERA with an 88.4% left on-base percentage. However, despite the pursuit from Cashman, the Houston Astros managed to retain one of their best pitchers on a two-year, $50 million deal with an optional second season.
The Yankees did their best to acquire his services, offering a one-year, $25 million deal straight up, but Houston essentially gave him an extra year of leverage, even if he struggles considerably after surgery. Cashman wasnâ€™t willing to take that big of a risk with money tied up in multiple spots and a massive extension for Aaron Judge waiting in the wings.
There are a few other opportunities he can explore, including a potential trade for Cincinnati Reds star pitcher Luis Castillo. There are free agents on the market that could fit the bill, including Robbie Ray, so we should keep an eye on the market to see how it fluctuates in the coming weeks. The Yankees will find a solution at the top of their rotation, and we know theyâ€™re willing to spend $25 million on a top option.
Yankees are preparing to begin contract extension talks with Aaron judge this winter:
â€œWeâ€™ll have to have conversations about a one- or a more multi-year-level deal,â€ Cashman said. â€œWeâ€™re essentially a season away from free agency, so weâ€™ll have to have conversations with Aaron Judgeâ€™s representation. But obviously heâ€™s been a great Yankee and heâ€™s certainly impacted us in such a positive way for quite a long time, so itâ€™d be nice to keep it going.â€